Healthcare Insider Blog

Experience in the Navy helped Foreman decide on nursing career

  • Healthcare Alvernia

Medical mnemonics for nursing students Life doesn’t always go in a straight line from college degree to awesome career. One look at Alvernia University’s BSN graduate Heather Foreman, however, and you realize this can be a good thing.

As Heather puts it, “Where you thought you would end up when you were 18 years old may be something completely different when you are 32.”

Heather graduated Magna Cum Laude from Kutztown University in 2005. If life had gone as planned, she would probably be a paralegal instead of a nurse. The country was knee-deep in a recession when she graduated – jobs were hard to find – so she joined the U.S. Navy with dreams of living at the beach and traveling the world.

That all changed the first time she stood on the base in Pensacola, saluting the body of a fallen pilot.
“At that moment, I embraced the Navy’s core values; honor, courage, commitment,” she said.

As one of the oldest sailors in her work center, she became ‘Mama Foreman’ to her younger co-workers being their pharmacist when they were sick, their designated driver when they celebrated life a little too heavily and tending to burns, scrapes and a few electrical mishaps.

“I was the nurse long before I ever realized I wanted the job,” said Heather.

Fast forward to 2010. With one year left in the service, she needed to figure out her next step. It was then that she decided to follow in the footsteps of her mother and aunts and become a nurse.

“I chose Alvernia because I wanted a four-year BSN program, which is hard to find in this area and I thought their smaller, hands-on class size would be good for a challenging major like nursing,” she said.

Heather’s plan was to ‘fly under the radar’ and hope her four years at Alvernia went quickly. Yet again, that plan fell through.

“They don’t let you become an island at Alvernia, even when you try,” explained Heather.

She joined the Veteran’s Club on campus as a way to meet other service members; became a member of the university’s Veteran’s Success Team and helped with speakers, conventions and fundraising.

Because of these efforts, she was given the Nurse Leadership Award and was asked to speak at the nursing pinning ceremony.

At the moment, Heather is developing her clinical skills by working as the camp nurse for a YMCA resident camp, which she describes as a fun, exhausting and lovely experience.

Combine her years in the service, with one degree in history & paralegal studies and another in nursing, and this woman’s career path is now crystal clear: she wants to use her skills to help veterans.

“I’m hoping to get a job at a Veteran’s Affairs Hospital because I feel a responsibility to care for my fellow military veterans and I want to give back to the Veterans Administration since they contributed significantly towards the cost of my education,” said Heather. “My goal is to bring positive change to the Veteran Administration not only as a nurse but in the future as an administrator and advocate.”

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